At a time when theatre groups are innovating to keep their practice alive and fight the gloom of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mumbai-based group, The Company Theatre, has come up with an online festival of 15 short films adapted from drama sourced from around the globe. Keeping in mind corona restrictions, all the films have been created remotely — right from auditioning to filming to post-production.
Actor, founder member of TCT and one of the festival curators, Atul Kumar, spoke to The Daily Guardian about “TheatreFilmTheatre”, an online theatre festival, and how artists are coping up with Covid-19. Excerpts:
Q. What made The Company Theatre come up with “TheatreFilmTheatre”?
A. These have been some extraordinary times and no one really envisaged that we will go through such a mess in every part of our lives professionally, economically, health wise and even psychologically. Artists all over the world are wondering what the future holds with gaping eyes and performing artist have been hit the worst. Many artists, during this lockdown with the uncertainty of the future, are under real mental duress. The Company Theatre realised the worth of having work, purpose and a creative drive that could keep the community together and people engaged in healthy activity. So we decided to ask young filmmakers to pick up theatre scripts and cast theatre actors in and make short films. We didn’t care about what kind of films were made as long as people worked with each other across cities and towns and different languages and remotely creating magic! That’s all the purpose of this project was, is.
Q. With recorded plays and forms like Zoom theatre gaining popularity, why was the short film the desired format for showcasing drama?
A. We all know very well, and you have heard this again and again, that filmed versions of performed theatre in theatre spaces has failed to keep the audience’s attention. Even the best of theatre shot on 15 camera setups by the best of international and wellendowed theatre organisations kept your attention only for that bleak period. There is no doubt that theatre is a live medium and must be shared in the same time and space between audiences and actors. Since that is not available to us, and perhaps won’t be for a long time to come, we need to find ways to continue telling stories in theatrical ways within the limitations we have. The computerised world is that only possibility presently, so be it. We decided to try out various different formats — film is just one of the formats. Then there are others and we are up with many other works that are in the making.
Q. Producing a short film can be labour-intensive, and surely it could not have been any easier with everybody at home under lockdown. How did the performers, directors and technicians manage to put the films together?
A. Human endeavour can be most surprising, as we all know. And the best of us (and obviously, also the worst of us) comes out when we are conflicted. The artists worked remotely with others across towns and cities, relying only on the Internet and their passion for the arts. Some, of course, were in the same spaces and took all Covid precautions and created films somehow, against all odds like the lack of equipment, resources and absolutely no money at all.
Q. How was the process of curating these short films for an online festival?
A. Joyous. Especially because it was during these tough times. The first few weeks into the lockdown, it had felt like an abyss. Like the rabbit’s hole, really! And then one found a purpose and some friends who were in the same boat. We joined hands, and meetings on Zoom, late-night phone calls, jokes and stories kept our spirits high. We even placed bets about how many actors and filmmakers will finally join us! It was all done in a fun and cheerful way and although I am sure all of us in the curatorial team are inclined differently aesthetically, we aligned in some strange way, driven by something larger. That is very reassuring.
The artists involved were mostly first-time filmmakers or working on their second or third experiments. And these were precisely the artists we wanted to hold hands with — not the established ones, since we knew they will find their way anyway. The others needed that doorway which we jointly created.
Q. With artists and theatre companies worldwide complaining about their incomes being hit during the pandemic, what made the performers decide to work pro bono and the TCT to put up the films on YouTube for free viewing?
A. We are going to do a hat collection. Donate what you can and will to support the films, filmmakers, artists involved and the general idea of supporting the arts being an ‘essential’ commodity in our lives. Theatre has already struggled a lot with paid viewing online, let alone with complaints about ticket prices for live shows. In these extraordinary times when everyone is squeezed a bit, we thought it would be too much if we charged tickets for this festival. Let’s just get the wheel rolling, then we can slowly go back to normal ticketing. Although we are creating other projects, and our next theatre production “parables of sinister misdeeds committed in this house” will be played online and be ticketed. We are just testing waters now, like everyone else. Of course, we all have to make a living, so things will change, if they will change. Right now, I am just happy and grateful that we could reach here while so many others couldn’t.
‘TheatreFilmTheatre’ will premiere on The Company Theatre’s YouTube channel on 30 August 2020. More information can be found on their website and Facebook page.
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Ajay Devgn receives an award in the National Film Award, Kajol shares pic
Bollywood actor, Ajay Devgn, received the Nation Film Award in the best actor category for his performance in 2020 movie, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. The actor took to Twitter on Friday and expressed his gratitude and thanks to his fans. His wife, actor Kajol, also beamed with pride as Ajay received two awards at the 68th National Film Awards ceremony in Delhi. Kajol gave him a shoutout on social media as she shared a photo of Ajay from the prestigious awards event.Ajay also shared best actor award with South cinema star, Suriya for his performance in the Tamil film Soorarai Pottru.Kajol took to Instagram stories on Friday, to share a photo of Ajay receiving the award from President Droupadi Murmu at the ceremony that took place at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi. Praising Ajay and his style, she wrote along with the photo, “Bringing home two National Awards and looking good is difficult!” Ajay Devgn also shared a picture with Suriya, and tweeted, “It was fantastic to share time with my esteemed colleague and fellow best actor award winner, Suriya. Deeply respect his talent and love his movies.”He also tweeted, “Not counting the wins or the blessings, just feeling grateful for all of it. Most importantly, your love. I share this win with all of you. Honoured to receive my awards from the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.”Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a historical-action film, which traces the life of Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare. Om Raut helmed the project. Released in January 2020, it features jay in the titular role along with Kajol as Savitribai Malusare, and his Omkara co-star, Saif Ali Khan as the antagonist Udaybhan Singh Rathore.
Allu Arjun makes a visit to Amritsar’s Golden Temple and Waghra border; shares pic with family and jawans
To mark his wife’s 37th birthday, actor Allu Arjun visited Golden Temple at Amritsar and Wagah border with his family on Thursday. The pictures shared by him, featured his wife Sneha Reddy and kids Ayaan and Arha. He wore a purple kurta pyjama with an orange head covering for his visit to Golden temple. He held the hands of his son, Ayaan while walking. His wife Sneha Reddy wore a blue suit with an orange head covering and held her daughter Arha’s hand.Arjun posted a picture with his family and jawans at the Wagah border. He and his wife were greeted by people in large number and were overwhelmed by the honour. He waved at his fans while walking with his wife and jawans. He shared a photo from Wagah border and wrote, “BSF . What an honour (tricolour flag emoji). Thank you (handfolded emoji).” You are the most beautiful and humble person in this world. I am your very big fan.” Another fan wrote, “Jai Hind” (tricolour flag emoji). Other fan commented, “This is the difference between Bollywood and South Indian stars.” Many of his fans dropped heart emojis on his post.
Allu Arjun wishes wife Sneha Reddy on her birthday via an Instagram post
South Indian star, Allu Arjun, wished his wife Sneha Reddy on her 37th birthday via an Instagram post. He shared a family picture with her. The picture featured their children Ayaan and Arha. Arjun addressed his wife as ‘cutie’ in the caption, drawing some love from their fans.In the picture, Allu can be seen in a blue kurta and Sneha can be seen in blue suit. The couple were twinning in blue. Sneha held her kids while posing for the camera. Their son Ayaan held a plate of cake. Two birthday cakes could also been seen on a table in front of the family.Sharing the photo on Instagram, Allu Arjun wrote for Sneha, “Happy Birthday Cutie” (Smiling face with hearts). One of his fans wrote for his wife, “Happy birthday to you. Enjoy your day. Always stay happy, don’t forget your smile” Other fan commented, “Their bond is so pure.” Many fans dropped heart and cake emojis for Sneha.During an appearance in Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s talk show, Allu was asked what she liked about Sneha, to which he replied, “I liked two qualities about her, she is very dignified. Even at 2am at the nightclub, there was nothing obscene about her. She has got so much dignity and number 2, she is very balanced.”
THE 23rd EDITION OF IIFA AWARDS AT YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI
THE 23rd EDITION OF IIFA WEEKEND AND AWARDS IS BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND AT YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI, IN FEBRUARY 2023, FOLLOWING THE HUGE SUCCESS OF IIFA 2022!
MEGA SUPERSTAR SALMAN KHAN, VARUN DHAWAN, KARAN JOHAR, KRITI SANON, AND MANY MORE TO BE A PART OF THE 23rd EDITION!
TICKETS ON SALE FROM TOMORROW 30th SEPTEMBER, 2022
29th September 2022: The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards, which brings together the very best of the Indian film industry, is back by popular demand in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in February 2023 to win our hearts all over again! IIFA 2023 will be held in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences.
The comeback of the 22nd edition of IIFA this year at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, hosted by superstar Salman Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, and Maniesh Paul, featured electrifying performances by the finest talent from the Indian film fraternity, leaving us in awe with three memorable, star-studded days with packed venues filled by fans from all around the globe. The three-day awards weekend was attended by more than 350 media from 17 countries across the globe and more than 20,000 people thronged the arena.
Back by popular demand from stakeholders, fans, and media from around the globe, the 23rd edition of IIFA will again be hosted at the world-class Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue in February 2023. The upcoming edition will be filled with even more magic and entertainment as we are set to witness Salman Khan, Varun Dhawan, Karan Johar, Kriti Sanon, and many more in attendance.
India and Abu Dhabi have had strong cultural and commercial ties for many decades. IIFA Weekend & Awards will be a celebration of togetherness and positivity, returning to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and enhancing, strengthening, and building even stronger bonds. IIFA 2023 will be a grand celebration of the best talent in Indian cinema, bringing together global dignitaries, international media, fans, and film enthusiasts worldwide. To present a greater opportunity for long-term impact in tourism, business & trade, and the film production business for the destination.
Noreen Khan, Vice President of IIFA said,
“IIFA this year was an amazing experience thanks to the wonderful partners Miral & DCT. Coming back after two years we really worked hard to deliver the very best of live entertainment again. The best part was the entire weekend delivered a positive experience to everyone who witnessed or experienced the event in any way. We have been inundated with unprecedented appreciation and comments of everyone truly have had a wonderful time this year in Abu Dhabi and so we are pleased and excited to bring it all back again but with much more magic to come next year”.
HE Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, said:
“We are honored to once more welcome the IIFA Weekend & Awards to Etihad Arena. With the eyes of the world’s film industry upon us, we have an amazing opportunity to share with the world Abu Dhabi’s exciting nightlife, inspiring cultural experiences, and restorative escapes. The Awards in February can only enhance our reputation as a global centre for top-tier leisure, entertainment, and business events.”
Taghrid Al Saeed, Executive Director of Group Communications and Destination Marketing of Miral said,
“We were thrilled to see the immediate impact that IIFA presented to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi when we hosted the event last June, which created great engagement around the world. We are excited to be back hosting again this year and to be the first destination to consecutively hold the IIFA Weekend and Awards. We are proud of this partnership, which is already delivering valuable business and tourism opportunities from India to the island. The return of this great event is another testament to Yas Island’s position as a global entertainment and leisure destination as well as an international events hub.”
With excitement increasing all over the world, people can now buy tickets to the biggest awards ceremony spanning over three days at https://www.etihadarena.ae/en/ from the 30th of September 2022. The price range begins from 100 AED going up to 1500 AED. People can now get an opportunity to buy tickets to the biggest celebration of Indian Cinema at https://www.etihadarena.ae/en/box-office or you can head to www.yasisland.ae where fans can add all that they need for their visit to Yas Island as a travel package.
Home to magical adventures, awe-inspiring entertainment, three globally renowned theme parks, outstanding motorsports, an award-winning golf venue, and world-class hospitality services, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is a destination like nowhere else.
Fans and media are welcome to keep abreast of the latest news and details on IIFA and Hindi cinema by logging on to www.iifa.com or checking out the social media handles:
FOR FURTHER DETAILS VISIT
● IIFA Website www.iifa.com
● IIFA social media handles:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/iifa
Twitter – https://twitter.com/iifa
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IIFA/
● For further queries, please contact: Wizspk Communications |PR [email protected]
About IIFA (International Indian Film Academy)
IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: “One People. One World”. IIFA is the most appreciated South Asian film academy and a global platform that gives the Indian film fraternity an opportunity to reach audiences in international territories. The alliances made via the platform of IIFA provide huge benefits and gain to India and an equally important objective is to create similar benefits in the host country. The aim is to establish a system of mutual benefit to both India as well as the host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions. The IIFA Weekend & Awards each year and travels to new, exciting and beautiful destinations, taking the film fraternity to unite and celebrate the best of Indian film and culture, thereby taking Indian Cinema and India to a wider audience. www.iifa.com
Miral is Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, uniting people and places through unique, immersive and exciting experiences. Responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, Miral’s assets encompass entertainment, hospitality, leisure, sport, dining and retail destinations. Today, Yas Island is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB™️ Abu Dhabi, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina and eight hotels, including Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island located on Yas Bay, the soon to be Abu Dhabi’s premier waterfront destination. For more information, visit http://www.miral.ae
About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and its creative industries, fuelling economic progress and helping to achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the DCT Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the DCT Abu Dhabi’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture, tourism and creative industries. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.
For more information about DCT Abu Dhabi and the destination, please visit tcaabudhabi.ae and visitabudhabi.ae.
About Yas Island
Yas Island is one of the world’s fastest growing leisure and entertainment destinations, located on the golden shores of Abu Dhabi – just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai. Yas Island offers holiday makers a diverse mix of award-winning leisure and entertainment experiences, from one-of-a-kind theme parks, world-class shopping and superb dining, to a links golf course, exciting water and motor sports, and spectacular musical, entertainment and family events all within the 25 sq km Island. Today, Yas Island is home to the award-winning theme parks Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the record-breaking CLYMB™️ Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit (home to the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX™️), Yas Marina, the award-winning Yas Links golf course, as well as Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, Yas Mall. With hotels, including W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Crowne Plaza Yas Island Abu Dhabi, Yas Island Rotana, Centro Yas Island by Rotana, Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island, plus more than 165 dining experiences, the destination also features indoor and outdoor concert venues including WHITE and Etihad Arena – all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.
Ponniyin Selvan I pre-booking sees ticket sales of over ₹11 crore for day 1; immense craze seen in the South
Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan: I is almost ready for release in theatres. The movie is set to release on the big screen on 30 September, 2022. The advance booking of tickets has been on all week now and the numbers are really encouraging. The film is on course to register the best first-day advance booking for any Tamil film this year, challenging the impressive number set by Kamal Haasan’s Vikram earlier this year. Depicting the immense craze of the film, in many cities down south, almost all shows have been booked for the entire weekend.As per the trade sources, the Tamil version of the film has sold tickets for opening day worth ₹10 crore gross alone on Thursday morning. In addition, the Telugu, Hindi, and Malayalam-dubbed versions contributed to advance booking sales of over ₹1 crore, giving the film a total advance booking sale for the first day at over ₹11 crore.While Ponniyin Selvan is a pan-India film, it’s popularity is mostly seen in the south region. From the total pre-booking collection, only 4% tickets sold are out of Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The hindi version has contributed to ₹18-20 lakhs so far. At the US box office, the film has already raked in $835,000 ( ₹6.8 crore) and is all set for a million-dollar final advance booking figure from the North American market alone.Ponniyin Selvan I, based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel of the same name, is a historical epic set in the Chola era. The film is a fictionalised account of the early days of the great Chola emperor Rajaraja I, and stars Jayam Ravi, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Karthi and Trisha Krishnan.
Katrina Kaif wishes birthday to Sunny Kaushal with unseen pictures on Instagram
Actress Katrina Kaif shared some unreleased photos from her wedding festivities on Wednesday to wish Sunny Kaushal a happy birthday. In a picture that Katrina shared on Instagram, Sunny made jokes and asked for Katrina’s blessing. While holding Katrina in his other hand, Vicky Kaushal, who was standing close by, maintained one hand on Sunny’s back. In the casual photograph, they were all seen laughing.
In the picture, Katrina was draped in a pink dupatta and donned an orange ethnic attire. Sunny Kaushal was wearing black attire, while Vicky was wearing a yellow and white ensemble. Vicky and Katrina both wore white garlands around their necks.
The picture appears to have been taken at the Six Sense Fort Barwara in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, the site of Katrina and Vicky’s wedding. The image showed a number of people in the backdrop.
Sharing the picture, Katrina wrote, “Jeete raho, khush raho (Live long, be happy) (cake and smiling emojis).” Reacting to the post, actor Mini Mathur commented, “hahahah lovvvvvve.” Actor Angira Dhar wrote, “Hahahah laaaaaav this!”
Vicky also wished his brother Sunny on Instagram and posted a picture. Both brothers dressed in white, were seated next to one another in the picture.
“Happy Birthday to the most sarwa gunn sampanna Kaushal! “Love you @sunsunnykhez (kissing face, red heart, and cake emojis),” Vicky captioned the post.
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